Friday, June 4, 2010

Review: “Gossip Girl” books 1 & 2 by Cecily von Ziegesar

Okay, so I’m writing my first YA manuscript and was a little unclear how far was too far for sexual topics.  While at my local used books store, I picked up a couple of the Gossip Girl books to see how they handle mature subjects.  The good news… I have nothing to worry about.

So this series follows several different students in private high schools in New York City.  Most of them are over-privileged and obnoxious.  At best, they are stereotypical.  That’s not to say there is no appeal.  I can definitely see how the average Mid-Western teenage could get lost in the Gossip Girl world.  I just don’t know if kids like this really exist.  They live in a world where money is no object, the bars never card, the parents don’t parent and there are no consequences for anything.  Again, I understand the appeal… really. 

Part of me liked the wild, no holding back of von Ziegesar.  Teens really do deal with drugs, alcohol, sex and eating disorders.  Her incorporation of technology is also brilliant.  But in real life, there are things like parents and consequences.  In real life drugs are not glamorous, sex sometimes leads to pregnancy or STD’s, binge drinking sometimes leads to alcohol poisoning, intoxication while driving sometimes leads to accidents, smoking sometimes leads to cancer, bulimia sometimes leads to real health problems, bank accounts sometimes run out of money.  Perhaps I’m too much of a realist.  I just think this world is too much fantasy to be interesting.

Oh, and the cheating POV’s are enough to give you whiplash!

Overall, I give Gossip Girl

Plot – 2 bookmarks
Character Development – ½ bookmark
Love Scenes – ½ bookmark
Craft of the Writing – 2 bookmarks (Hated the POV shifts, sometimes paragraph to paragraph, but liked the incorporation of the website.)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – I’ve never seen the TV show, but I did check out the cast on the IMDB sight.  I think it was fairly well cast, although Taylor Momsen doesn’t fit Jenny and in the book, Vanessa has her head shaved.  I guess I don’t have anything to add.  I wasn’t invested enough for my imagination to roam too far off the TV show.

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